Wall Street Journal
NEW YORK—Frederic Bourke Jr., co-founder of the Dooney & Bourke handbag company, was sentenced Tuesday to one year and one day in prison after he was convicted of criminal charges in July in an alleged scheme to bribe Azerbaijan government officials.
At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan also ordered Mr. Bourke, 63, to pay a $1 million fine and to serve three years supervised release after he completes his prison term.
The sentence was below the range of 57 months to 71 months recommended under federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of as much as 10 years in prison.
The judge said, after a prosecution that dragged on for many years, it was "still not entirely clear to me whether Mr. Bourke is a victim, or a crook, or a little bit of both."
However, the judge said prison time was necessary to send a message to persons who might violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. "Such bribery must and will result in a jail sentence," the judge said.
In July, a jury found Mr. Bourke guilty of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Travel Act and making false statements to federal law-enforcement officials. He was acquitted of a single count of money-laundering conspiracy.
Harold Haddon, Mr. Bourke's lawyer, said Mr. Bourke plans to appeal his conviction, saying he believed the judge had imposed "a compassionate sentence" in the case. Mr. Haddon had sought probation in the matter.
"There is a substantial chance of winning on appeal," Mr. Haddon said. Mr. Bourke was granted bail pending appeal, which his lawyers expect to file as early as Tuesday.
Last month, Judge Scheindlin rejected Mr. Bourke's motion to set aside the conviction.
Prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan had alleged Mr. Bourke was aware of an improper plot by Viktor Kozeny, president and chairman of Oily Rock Group Ltd., to bribe Azeri officials in the late 1990s to allow Mr. Kozeny's investment consortium to buy a stake in the State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic, or Socar.
Mr. Bourke met Mr. Kozeny when they were neighbors in Aspen, Colo., where Mr. Kozeny allegedly convinced Mr. Bourke to invest in his scheme, prosecutors said.
Mr. Kozeny, who is facing federal criminal charges as well as state larceny charges, is in the Bahamas, where he so far has successfully fought extradition to the U.S.
Prosecutors have said Mr. Kozeny earned the nickname the "Pirate of Prague" because of underhanded dealings in the Czech Republic during privatization of industries there in the early or mid-1990s.